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2 HNLC cadres held, Garo rebel shot dead

Shillong, Nov. 21: Meghalaya police today arrested two alleged hardcore cadres of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) from South West Khasi Hills district, while one Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) cadre was shot dead in West Garo Hills.

According to South West Khasi Hills superintendent of police Debangshu Sangma, two alleged hardcore HNLC cadres were arrested from Jakrem village, about 70km from here.

The cadres have been identified as Sakaria Thongni and Pholden Star Lyngdoh. Thongni, who hails from Mawpdai village near Mawkyrwat, the district headquarters of South West Khasi Hills, was earlier arrested and booked under the Meghalaya Preventive Detention Act (MPDA).

Lyngdoh hails from Nonglang village, which is also near Mawkyrwat. Both are alleged to be hardcore cadres of the outfit. “The two persons were picked up from a passenger bus travelling from Shillong to Mawkyrwat. As we were conducting vehicular checks, we intercepted the bus at Jakrem village and were able to apprehend the duo,” Sangma said.

Sangma also informed that based on the leads given by the alleged HNLC cadres, two suspected overground workers of the proscribed outfit were picked up. The duo has been identified as Pynshailang Snaitang and Frederick Syiemiong from Nonglang village.

The district police chief said interrogation against the four persons is still on.

Some areas under South West Khasi Hills are rich in coal deposits, and the coal-trading season has just picked up with the onset of winter.

The items which were recovered from the bus include one kitbag containing a laminated appeal on HNLC letterhead signed by its finance secretary, one receipt book of Lion Sport Club from serial numbers 1 to 20, one Bangladesh SIM card with two Bangladesh link top-up cards and 19 yellow envelopes. Two mobile phones were also recovered from the alleged HNLC cadres.

However, no arms or ammunition were recovered though, Sangma said.

On the other hand, the police said during a special operation in Tura, West Garo Hills, a GNLA cadre identified as Jackuis A. Sangma, 20, was arrested from Damalgre area under Tura police station. The cadre hails from Sonabil village near Garobadha under Betasing block in West Garo Hills, police said.

Following his lead, commandos of the special operations team (SOT) and special weapons and tactic (SWAT) raided Sonabil village.

During an exchange of fire, police said a GNLA cadre, identified as Indian A. Sangma, 23, who is a resident of Sonabil, was killed.

Indian, an area commander of the GNLA, is believed to be behind the killings of two civilians two months ago at Garodoba village under Ampati in South West Garo Hills. He is also one of the most-wanted GNLA cadres.

“Indian was killed in a gunfight after he and three of associates escaped from their hideout at Sonabil area. The rebels, instead of surrendering, opened fire at the commandos, thus leading to the gunfight,” a police official said.

From the place of occurrence, police recovered one pistol and one magazine besides other materials.

Yesterday, West Garo Hills police arrested two GNLA militants from Tura town. They were identified as Goera D. Sangma, 27, and Sengsal R. Marak, 22. The police seized two pistols, two magazines, six rounds of cartridges and mobile phones from them. The duo had come to Tura for extortion and abduction, the police added.

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